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Scraps from the Siena poll


So by now you've read the full story on today's Siena College Research Institute poll that showed Democratic Rep. Bill Owens and Republican Matt Doheny at a dead heat in the 21st Congressional District race.
Here are a few things of note that didn't make it into the paper that could help explain how Mr. Doheny turned a 13-point deficit into a statistical tie.
Mr. Doheny's campaign, and outside political groups, have hammered Mr. Owens on his lobbyist-arranged trip to Taiwan, his vote for President Obama's health-care overhaul, and his basic connections to Washington because he's an incumbent.
The result? Mr. Owens' favorability rating has taken a big hit.
In its September poll, Siena found that 52 percent of respondents viewed Mr. Owens favorably, while 22 percent viewed him unfavorably. This morning's poll showed that 47 percent viewed Mr. Owens favorably, while 38 percent viewed him unfavorably.
And Mr. Doheny has made huge strides in bringing Republicans into the fold, or at least getting them to dislike Mr. Owens. The district is heavily Republican, so that was a big task. Fifty-one percent of Republicans now view Mr. Owens unfavorably, according to Siena, while 30 percent view him favorably. In September, Mr. Owens actually had a net favorable rating of +5 among Republicans, with 37 percent viewing him favorably and 32 percent viewing him unfavorably.
And Mr. Doheny hasn't really paid a huge price for this. He's at 43 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable, while in September it was 36 favorable to 31 unfavorable.
Thirty-five percent of respondents said that Mr. Doheny was waging the more negative campaign, while 28 percent said the same of Mr. Owens. In fairness, Mr. Doheny's campaign has stuck mostly to policy stuff, with some sustained forays into Taiwan.
Looks like those ads — eight of them from the Doheny campaign alone, plus perhaps a dozen others from the National Republican Congressional Committee and outside groups — have paid off.
Romney-Obama swing
This is no coincidence: Mitt Romney has overtaken President Obama in the 21st Congressional District.
Mr. Obama had been up by 5 percent. Now, Mr. Romney is up by 4 percent.
Coattails aren't everything, but you can't ignore the excitement that Mr. Romney's resurgence has brought to some of the more conservative people in the district, who might have stayed home if Mr. Romney was going to get drubbed.
Owens' own poll
The Owens campaign released their own poll this morning, which is about a week older than the Siena poll. It shows Mr. Owens leading Mr. Doheny by 7 percent.
The Doheny campaign had to put out their own poll earlier this week, perhaps to preempt the Siena poll (which actually showed better news than their own poll). Here's the memo, where you'll find this fantastic tidbit from pollster Robert Blizzard that I'm sure he wishes he could take back: "Don't believe the public polls."
State Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, has basically run a campaign on her "close work" with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.
The Siena poll showed that it's a good strategy. Sixty-seven percent of respondents in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties had a favorable opinion of the first-term governor, while 27 percent had an unfavorable view of him. And what if Mrs. Ritchie is engaged in a primary with a Republican who's sick and tired of her praise for Mr. Cuomo?
No matter. Sixty-five percent of Republicans view Mr. Cuomo favorably, while only 28 percent view him unfavorably.

Here are the crosstabs in the poll:

Siena Poll Oct 31

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